How do you make a documentary about the downfall of a porn star without leaning in to some of the more problematic stereotypes about people in that industry? Tomer Heymann’s fly on the wall examination of Jonathan Agassi manages to be a cautionary tale without ever demonising its subject, or the industry he works in.
Released in 1998 and directed by Ana Kokkinos, Head On explores the life of a confused 19 year-old Greek-Australian grappling with his repressed identity amidst the forces of his immigrant family and their place in urban Melbourne. The film, starring Alex Dimitriades, gained many awards, such as the Grand Jury Award at L.A. Outfest.
The Shiny Shrimps fits perfectly within the canon of heart-warming sports films that are happy to not take themselves too seriously. Having it’s premiere at the Merlinka Festival this December, this film is sure to prove to be popular among audiences while helping to promote acceptance in sports. Water polo has never looked so fun.
Released in 2014 and directed by Chris Nelson, Date and Switch is a twist on the typical high school comedy, filmed in Vancouver. Two best friends, Matty and Michael, played by Hunter Cope and Nicholas Braun, respectively, promising to get laid before senior prom. Their plan takes a turn when Matty comes out of the closet, with hilarious and endearing results.
In the beginning, the harshness of these films, complete with their aforementioned surrealist edge, made things difficult. Nobody seemed interested in screening them, deeming them as too controversial. Some even called them homophobic and Hickling recalls, “I was criticized not only by the straight community but also by the gay community. But I think that as the work started being shown and selected, people started to re-look and re-think.”
Black Ocean, written and directed by Marion Hänsel and first screened at the 2010 Toronto Film Festival, tells the story of three young men aboard a French naval vessel in the South Pacific in 1972. Adrien Jolivet, Nicolas Robin, and Romain David star as the three young sailors in this Belgian coming-of-age story, loosely based on the short stories of Hubert Mingarelli.